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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

"summer complaint"

Grace Osborne was the daughter of William Hazzard and Judith/ Jude Brausa Osborne. She was born February 23, 1902, and died September 4, 1902 at age 6 months and 12 days of cholera infantums. According to her death record she had suffered from indigestion for one month before her death. She was buried at Moffett Cemetery.

Cholera infantums is an old term for a disease of infants characterized by vomiting, diarrhea and fever.  It was known as “summer complaint” occurring in hot weather and the cause of many infants’ deaths in the 1800s and early 1900s.  A medical book written in 1898 describes the causes and treatment available.  Causes were given as “heat of summer, bottle feeding, infectious milk, and excessive feeding. The book continues:"To recognize the trouble as an acute poisoning instead of a case of inflammation will reduce the dreadful rate of mortality. To give calomel is too slow, allowing too much time for the poison to be absorbed.  The stomach and bowels must be emptied by using saltwater enemas, then minute doses of morphine are given. To reduce the fever the use of coal tar products has shown good results.”   


The Sumner Press and the Lawrenceville Republican printed testimonials of people who had used Chamberlains’ Colic Cholera and Diarrhea remedy with much success during this period of time, advertising it specifically for cholera infantum.  It could be purchased at the People’s Drugstore in Sumner and Geo. I. Nunn store in Lawrenceville. According to the Smithsonian this remedy was manufactured from 1882-1906 by the Chamberlain Medicine Company in Des Moines Iowa. As with most unregulated patented medicines produced then, it contained opium. There is no evidence that the Osborne family purchased this medicine or used the recommended medical treatment for their baby daughter, Grace.  All we have is a tombstone in Moffett Cemetery with her name on it that she shares with her brother Hubert.


James Hubert Osborne was born December 21, 1909 to William Hazzard and Judith/Jude Brausa Osborne in Lukin Township, Lawrence County Illinois.  He died July 28, 1910, at 7 months 8 days of Dysentery.  Dr George Reid of Lancaster noted that the baby had had this for 17 days and considered a contributing cause of death was the fact the baby was bottle fed. Hubert is buried at Moffett Cemetery, where his grandparents lie. He shares a tombstone with his sister Grace.

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